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Presented by Maryam Bibi
Roll no 14211502-005
Presented to Sir Amjad Ali
A brief introduction
• Expressionism is an important literary movement in the 20th
century literary history.
• The roots of Expressionism are found in Northern European
art...specifically in German art and drama.
• Focuses on the emotions and spirituals.
• Expressionism, in the visual, literary, and performing arts, a
movement or tendency that strives to express subjective feelings and
emotions rather than to depict reality or nature objectively.
• The objectives of expressionism in literature, notably in the novel and
the drama, are similar to those in art. The characters and scenes are
presented in a stylized, distorted manner with the intent of producing
Features of Expressionism
• The primary features of expressionism are:
• emphasis on abstraction and subjectivity,
• the theme of searching' for the meaning of life,
• two-dimensional personality and distortion of the individual,
• disjoined and confusing plots,
• absence of conflict,
• frequent changing dialogues,
• peculiar use of punctuations and the use of different expressionistic
EXPRESSIONISTIC VISION IN
EUGENE O’ NEILL’S
“THE EMPEROR JONES”
Plot or summary of play
• The Emperor Jones, drama by Eugene O’Neill, produced in 1920 and
published in 1921. The Emperor Jones was the playwright’s first foray
into Expressionist writing.
• The play consists of a total eight scenes arranged in hierarchical
succession. The first and the last scenes are realistic in the manner of
O’Neill’s early plays. The six middle scenes are ” expressionistic”,
consisting of monologues of Jones, interspersed with descriptions of
the Great Forest which forms the setting of the play and which is also
an overseeing character in it.
• In “The Emperor Jones”, the dramatist presents the anguished and
fevered brain to Brutus Jones; he shows the feeling of panic and fear
in the breast of half civilized Negro. He is the victim of the
personifications of his lonely fears in the forest. He represents the
breakdown of a Negroid mentality under the stress of fear and
fatigue. The play is a study of the psychology of a man when he is
haunted by his past crimes and the memory of racial
• Brutus Jones was a bold and brave exploiter who could enter in to the
forest alone. But gradually he became an object figure, as he was
scared by some hallucination (an experience involving the apparent
perception of something not present) in the forest. The hallucinations
which haunt him are his personal memories of his primitive past, of
racial injustice heaped on him. These are the personal memories of
him as a southern slave auction in which he is for slave ship in which
Negroes are being brought from Africa.
Expressionism in the play
• Scene one:
• The use of dumb shown in the very beginning of the play is very effective.
In this, the conversation occurs between Smithers and Jones and from this
we came to know about the past of Jones, about his character and of his
• Scene two:
• In this scene, there is a description of the Great Forest and the trauma
faced by Jones. The scene is a piece of monologue and O,Neill has made
effective use of the Negro dialect.
• Scene four:
• It is a powerful scene, very effective on the stage. It is one long
monologue interspersed with the descriptions of the forest. The re-
enactment of the murder of the Prison Guard, like the vision of
murdered Jeff the figure whom Jones murdered in the past , is an
expressionist projection of the sense of guilt buried deep down.
• Scene five:
• As the night advances, Jones becomes more and more tormented
and anguished. The hallucination that Jones has in this scene is not
the projection of his own “unconscious”. It is the first Jungian touch
that O’Neill provides in the play, for the auction scene set in a
Southern State of America is a part of Jones ‘ collective unconscious’.
• O’Neill use of soliloquies, asides, and interior monologues, to reveal
the innermost working of the character’s mind for the purpose of
giving outward expression to thoughts and emotions which are
normally unexpressed to create depth and complexity of his dramatic